In a release of 21st-century piano music by Lithuanian Ieva Jokubaviciute, aptly titled Northscapes, we receive a selection of ethereal sonic planes all evoking the majesty of nature’s expanse. Jokubaviciute handles each piece with a delicate touch and an inspired approach to phrasing – attributes that are necessary to reveal the wonderful poetic characteristics of each piece. With each composer being from Nordic or Baltic countries, the overall atmosphere is one of a stark, and yet endlessly colourful, depiction of engulfing northern panoramas. Whether whirling through the unrelenting chroma-glow of Lasse Thoresen’s Invocation of Pristine Light, taking pause in the crafty expressiveness of Bent Sørensen’s Nocturnes, or sinking into the dreamworld of Kaija Saariaho’s well-known Prelude, each work connects landscape to psychological enchantment.
Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Scape transports the listener into this psycho-geographical state with brilliance and ease. The innovative approach to the piano in her piece shifts the mind from the immediate to a vast apocryphal arena. This allows the sonic experience to travel much deeper than mere surface-level representations of nature scenes. When listening to this disc, one begins to wander among geographies of the mind – realms that haunt and comfort, obfuscate but also reassure. For an experience that will transport ear and mind, listen to Northscapes.